The intention of this blog is just to share with you the way God works in my everyday life. I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Until We Meet Again

On Christmas Day, Hazel Porter went to Heaven for the ultimate Christmas celebration!  What a time to leave this earth!  I'm sure she made it just as the festivites were getting started.  She probably greeted everyone as an old friend, even if she hadn't met them here on earth.

Hazel was born September 27, 1922.  She was the thirteenth child of David and Sally Floyd.  She was the last one of those kiddos to leave this earth, and of all of them, she was here the longest.  She had a wonderful life, and I think even if it hadn't been, she still would have thought it was, and she would've lived as if it was.  But, it really was.  She loved all her brothers and sisters, and they doted on her.  Every year at the Floyd reunion, her neices and nephews, great nieces and nephews, in-laws and her immediate family gathered to her side to celebrate just being family.  The stories told, memories shared, photos of the past and ones taken to record the present all celebrated the love between these people.  Hazel was the tie that binds.  She was the last of that generation.  She was loved and respected and admired by all her family. 

She had certainly gained success in this world.  She was a teacher and principal.  I think she lacked one credit of having her doctorate in education.  In her obit, I know her achievments were listed.  She had been on educational committes and boards that I cannot remember the names of.  She was also instrumental in the DARE program that is now in schools.  As it was said at her funeral, "she was ahead of her time.  She advanced through the education program when it was a man's world."  And that she did.  She was widowed when her daughter was eight, so that would probably put her in her mid-thirties.  She stepped up to provide for her daughter and be both parents.

Of all the things that Hazel accomplished here on this earth, the most important was that she let her light shine.  If you knew Hazel, you knew she was a lover and follower of Jesus Christ.  You knew that she was a lady.  You could see the evidence in her daughter that she was a wonderful mother.  Her son-in-law even says she was the perfect mother-in-law.  I know she was a cherished aunt.

I didn't have the pleasure of knowing Hazel all that long, but I truly loved her.  She was a spitfire.  She had brass, but her kindness never made her seem harsh.  She was a lovely person, and I am thankful that I had the pleasure of knowing her.  I am thankful that when I refer to her, I can proudly say, "Aunt Hazel."  She will be missed.

Friday, December 23, 2011

All Wrapped Up

I really should be cleaning, but I'm not!  I got everything clean yesterday but the living room and Chase's bathroom.  I did do all the dishes, but then we just had to eat again last night, so the sink got filled back up.  I let them go last night and they are still sitting there as I type.  But, oh well, they will get done.  I also have quite a few things that need to be ironed, but I'm not too worried at the present.

This morning, I finished writing James in the King James Version, and got about half of the first chapter in the New International Version.  In about a month, give or take, I will be leading my wonderful sisters at Garner in another Beth Moore Bible study.  Obviously, James.  This is a new study, Beth's latest, and I am so excited!  Mom and I have been watching the videos together in preparation, and each time we sit down and I get ready to hit "play" I am already about to come out of my seat. 

Beth Moore is just another human being, like the rest of us.  She too is a sinner, saved only by the grace of our loving Lord.  But, she really allows the Lord to use her, and she thrives on His word.  Her love for the Lord and His Word is contagious.  We have only watched three sessions so far, but I have already learned so much.

It is one option of the study to write the entire book of James.  It's really not all that long, only five chapters.  As a matter of fact, I wrote two chapters while having my oil changed the other day.  I decided, for myself, to write it in both versions because I mostly use the KJ, but in the studies we mostly use NIV.  Another option of the study is to memorize the entire book.  She suggests doing it over a five month period, a chapter per month.  I haven't decided whether or not I will attempt that one.

On another subject, today is Christmas Eve, Eve.  Yesterday was the first day of winter, so we should start seeing the days getting a little longer each day, slowly but surely.....Tonight, we will be spending with family and tomorrow will be the same.  I am really looking forward to that.  I love being with everyone and catching up and getting hugs and eating!  I love seeing my nieces and nephews and younger cousins open their gifts, and offering to hold the littlest ones so their mommas can eat or just take a break.

I guess everyone makes the same progression with their feelings of Christmas, but it seems to be ringing so true to me this year.  As I reflect, I remember my brother and I trying to convince my parents and grandparents to open gifts before we ate.  I know that as soon as my mom got the gifts wrapped and put under the tree, my brother and I thoroughly inspected all of them.  We would lift them to weigh them, shake them, even smell them.  The anticipation was almost too much.  My mom would compromise a little and let us open our stocking as soon as we got up.

Then, as I got a little older, I started wanting to give out gifts of my own.  Actually, I remember the first year I got gifts for others.  I have no clue how old I was, but I'm pretty sure I was still riding in the cart.  (Maybe not though.)  I was shopping with my mom and granny, and it was somewhere like "Hearts" or "Hills."  They had these round tables in the aisles with small prewrapped gifts sitting on them.  I showed them to my Granny and asked her if I could get them.  Of course, she was eager to encourage my generosity.  I know that I got my dad and papaw these little screw drivers that had changeable heads.  And, I think I got my Granny a paper weight with a red rose in it.  That's all I really remember.

As I got older, and had a job, I couldn't wait to start buying......or giving.  Everyone teased me because even before Thanksgiving, I was dying for them to open what I had got them.  I would beg them to "just open this one, you'll still have another one to open on Christmas Day." 

You know, I'm not so sure that God was anxious for His Son to die, but I think He was anxious to save us.  I think He was ready for all to know His Son, and I know He is anxious for us all to receive His gift of salvation.

In the past years, mostly since I've become a parent myself, I am fine to wait till the right time to open gifts.  I still get a little excited about giving others something I hope they'll like.  For the most part, however, I tend to forget about the gifts.  They're more of an after-thought, or a bonus to the festivities.  When I think of Christmas, I think of the special services at church, and being with the ones I love.  (and my aunt's million dollar fudge.)  I think of Jesus.  Why does it take so long to come around?  Why is it a process?  Why do we not have those feelings when we first give out hearts to Christ? 

It's all a process really.  We do not come to Christ fully accepting of all that entails.  It takes growth.  It takes a desire to seek Him daily.  It takes steps.  Can you imagine the progression from start to finish?  Once we get to Heaven, it will be Christmas forever.  We will celebrate Jesus for all eternity.  Right now, we are just getting prepared for the ultimate CHRISTmas festivities! 

Celebrate Jesus!  Merry CHRISTmas!


Friday, December 9, 2011

Do You Hear What I Hear?

One of the things I like most about this season is also one of the things I most dislike about the season.  I think Christmas is wonderful.  As a Christian, this is such a wonderful time of celebration, love and remembrance.  We celebrate our Savior, the King of kings, coming to this earth as a helpless babe for the "soul" purpose of saving us.  Dying for us.  We remember those days of old, the original Christmas.  We remember those who have gone on but made Christmases past so memorable.  We attempt to share and show the love of Christ to others mainly by gift giving and getting together over a scrumptious meal.  In the midst of it all, usually somewhere in the background, we hear different renditions of "Sleigh Ride," "Jingle Bells," and "The Christmas Song."

As a child, I couldn't wait till the first Sunday morning after Thanksgiving because I knew we'd be singing Christmas carols at church that morning.  Those songs in the back of the hymnal, tucked away for this joyous time of year.  It seemed as though those songs not only called for smiling faces and glistening eyes of praise, but it also filled your heart and soul with warmth that radiated throughout your whole body.  "Joy to the world, the Lord is come...."

Then, I became an adult, and I got a job while going to college.  The hustle and bustle of the holidays became my reality.  As I folded shirts over and over and over (so much that I even dreamed about folding them) those same songs played in a continual loop through my eight hour shift.  Those songs were stuck in my head for weeks after the season was over.  Christmas in the retail world is almost forced upon you.  When I began working retail, nearly fifteen years ago, at least they waited till after Halloween to start adorning the stores with Christmas decorations and merchandise. 

For the few years I spent working retail, my childlike wonder of the Christmas season was stifled.  The joy of the season was beyond my ability.  What was so happy about cranky people wanting something for nothing, complaining because we were out of boxes or that we didn't have more registers open.  No, those holly, jolly souls zapped the Christmas spirit right out of me.  As a matter of fact, I began to dread Christmas.  Those songs that played over the PA system were like annoying jingles from your least favorite commercial, or that song on the radio that nearly causes you to wreck as you hurriedly try to change the station.  The fact that they were stuck in my head was enough to drive me crazy, and I usually opted to sing them in an annoying voice to somewhat vent my frustration.

Thankfully, oh sooo thankfully, that time of my life is long since over!  Praise the Lord!  I have regained my love of Christmas, and the reason for the season-not Santa Clause, bargain prices or gift exchanges.  I have even more reason to love Christmas because I experienced the retail world and because I am no longer a part of it!

But, the love/hate relationship of the songs is a never ending drama in my mind.  I still feel like we're trying to make our now itunes money count by beginning to play them well before Thanksgiving.  At church, I still want a little worship music mixed into the service and not all Christmas songs.  I like Bing's "White Christmas," and no other version suits me.  Karen Carpenter's "Merry Christmas Darling,"  and Mariah Carey's "Joy to the World" are an absolute must.  But when I hear some of those Muzak favorites, I still cringe a little. 

The songs about the real, true meaning of Christmas will never make me cringe, or will never grow old for me.  They are what makes us stop and think about that glorious night so many years ago, when God Himself decided to grace this earth with His presence.  He decided to leave all the splendor of Heaven to be born in a manger.  He was born, so that He could die.  For us.  And so that we wouldn't have to die, but could live with Him for eternity.  Now that's Christmas, and that's worth singing about.

Merry CHRISTmas!!!!  Celebrate Jesus!!!!

What's Coming Through My Speakers This Season:
  • The Angels Cried - Alan Jackson & Alison Krauss
  • There's a New Kid in Town - Alan Jackson & Keith Whitley
  • Breath of Heaven - Amy Grant
  • Do They Know - Boyz II Men
  • Silent Night - Boyz II Men
  • Labor of Love - The Isaacs
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Karen Carpenter
  • Merry Christmas Darling - Karen Carpenter
  • There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays - Karen Carpenter
  • Mary Did You Know - Kathy Mattea
  • Joy to the World - Mariah Carey
  • O Holy Night - Mariah Carey
  • O Come All Ye Faithful - Matthew West
  • Leaving Heaven - Matthew West
  • Christmas Makes Me Cry - Matthew West & Mandisa
  • Christmas Time is Here - MercyMe
  • Blue Christmas - Michael Buble
  • I'll Be Home For Christmas - Michael Buble
  • Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow - Michael Buble